RVR Beer of the Moment – Otter Creek/Lawson’s Finest Liquids Double Dose Double IPA

Otter Creek/Lawson’s Finest Liquids Double Dose Double IPA

Bottle: 12 oz, ABV: 8.5%, Serving Temperature: 50° F, Glass Type: Snifter, Enjoyed on 10-12-13

photo-1Interlude: Vermont is a beautiful state and it makes beautiful beer.  This IPA is a collaboration between 2 vermont based breweries, Otter Creek and Lawson’s Finest Liquids.  I would love to make the pilgrimage to this state, to ride its vast dirt and gravel roads that roll and ramble over hills and creeks and to visit some of the countries best breweries.  Clear your calendars for next summer.

Appearance: Brilliant orange color, very effervescent.  Looks like a snifter full of orange crush.  Thin white head that leaves faint lace on glass as it settles

Aroma:  Upfront I get mango and ripe pineapples, there are some notes of grapefruit and other tropical fruits. Very minimal malt aroma, but didn’t really expect it.  This is making my mouth water.

Taste: Bursting with juicy citrus fruits upfront, followed with some mild bittering of pine blending into a bread/biscuit character that seems happy playing second fiddle to the hope in this beer.   Cascade hops are, without question, the star of the show in this beer. Some bitterness lingers on the tongue, but fades quickly.

Mouthfeel: Juicy, somewhat sticky.  Ample carbonation noted on glass, but not tasted, very smooth.

Overall: A very juicy and smooth DIPA.  I was lucky enough to come by a bottle from my friend Ian at Lets Talk Wine.  Unfortunately in you didn’t get a bottle when it first came out, you are unlikely to find it anywhere.  There was a lot of hype behind this beer, and think it lived up to it.

Beer of the Moment – Maine Beer Company Zoe

Maine Beer Company Zoe

Bottle: 1 pint 9 oz, ABV: 7.2%, Serving Temperature: 55 F°, Glass Type: Chalice, Bottle Date: 10/8/13, Drank:10/15/13

Maine Beer Company ZoeInterlude: The label on this beer reads “Our Happy, Hoppy, Ale” which I find intriguing and for some unknown reason it reminds me of my favorite time of the year, Fall. I am guessing most of you are with me on this one. The warmth of the sun still lingers, but there is a crispness in the air that is unmistakably autumn. For me, this is the best time to ride my bike.  I love the early morning chill as you set out early, then the morning warms up, forcing you to peel off layers.  To me fall is the perfect blend of all the things I enjoy about summer and winter.  It highlights the beauties of each season without being purely anything, each day is different, ever changing.

Appearance: Dark amber, with brilliant cherry and ruby hues as it is held up to the light, much deeper than expected, just a beautiful color

Aroma:  I am struck by the crisp smell of pine and citrus blended with the smell of dark chocolate malts and biscuit, slight spiciness is noted. There are also notes of caramel and a candy-like sweetness.

Taste: This is bold and robust, chocolate malt and bread dominate upfront, then a big taste piney bitterness comes forward. I taste a caramel finish with a slight sweetness as the bitterness fades. The hops are not overly citrusy or “dank”, just adding a solid bitterness. The malt and hop profiles of this beer are excellent and very well balanced, I feel they complement each other well.  I was fortunate enough to find this really fresh, only 7 days since bottling, so the hop character is very apparent, but I think that would fade quickly over time.

Mouthfeel: medium body, slight chewiness

Overall: Much like fall, this beer is a blend of the things that I love from both ambers and aggressively hopped pale ales and IPAs.  It has bold and sweet malt character backed up with a bitterness that rivals some IPAs.  I think this is a great option as the weather turns cooler and you naturally crave something a little hardier without being overly heavy. I think it would pair well with robust, bold foods you would find around the Thanksgiving table.

Beer of the Moment – Panil Barriquee Flander Red ale (aged in Cognac barrels)

Panil Barriquee Flander Red Ale (aged in Cognac barrels)

Bottle: 22 oz, ABV: 8.0%, Serving Temperature: 55° F, Glass Type: Wine glass

Panil BarriquéeInterlude: Sours.  There is no gray zone, you either love them or you have never tried them. Much like cyclocross, those who do it love it.  That being said, you can guess where I stand on both issues.  The Flanders Red ale is a traditional beer of West Flanders in Belgium.  This beer is best know for it cherry wood reddish hue and the sharp, tart and sour characteristics that come from special yeast strains. Often dubbed “wild yeast”, which I find strangely fitting.  These beers are complex and many have seen months, if not years, inside of oak casks.  They are light and crisp and fantastic with food pairings or post cross race, as a tribute to the heritage and root of cyclocross

Appearance: Hundreds of tiny bubbles remain on the surface or a dark brownish-red liquid, slight orange hues at it is held up the light.

Aroma:  Sour cherry, some green apple, acetic berries with aromas or wood and light leather.  There is a finish of some barnyard funk from the wild yeast.

Taste: Like the aroma, tart cherries and sour fruit, not as sour as I would have thought based off the smell.  A mild to moderate amount of funk from the yeast tasted that fades as flavors of the cognac barrel come forward. Some nice vanilla flavors toward the finish.  There are red wine qualities to this beer  without being overly dry or heavy, it is easy to drink and remains light and refreshing though out the bottle even after it warms a little

Mouthfeel: Thin, light.  Good carbonation.  Flavor lingers in back of throat and tongue.

Overall: I think this is a good example of a Flanders Red, not as sour as other beer of this style offered by the Bruery or Duchesse, but it would be a good start for anyone looking to try the style out.  I think it would pair great with blue cheese, earthy vegetables and grilled meat.